The Who's Pete Townshend Lists His Dazzling London Home for $21 Million — See Inside!
Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood, who previously owned the property, calls the home in upmarket Richmond Upon Thames "the best house in the world"
Overlooking a meandering bend in the River Thames, the six-bedroom, 8,500-square-foot home, known as The Wick, provides dramatic views across leafy southwest London and the nearby county of Surrey.
The Georgian-era house — on the market for a minimum of $21million — also features a secluded swimming pool, half an acre of terraced gardens, a vinery, conservatory, four cloakrooms, a large cellar, and a separate pool house.
More crucially, it holds a unique place in music history: Wood bought the home from Oscar-winning actor Sir John Mills in 1972 and later turned its one-time billiard's room into a purpose-built music studio. It is here that the Rolling Stones recorded the demo for their classic hit It's Only Rock 'N' Roll (But I Like It), with David Bowie helping out on vocals.
In 1976 the home was purchased by music executive Derek 'Dick' Leahy, who guided George Michael's career throughout his Wham! years and subsequent solo career, before Townshend bought the property in 1996.
"The main thing about the home is that it just looks like a little doll's house sitting on the hill," Perry Press from Pereds real estate tells PEOPLE about the historic home. "But there's actually 8.500 square feet of it. Once you get inside it sort of expands around you. It also has that outlook over the River Thames, which is quite astonishing considering it's on the fringe of London.
Press, continues, "It's got a series of oval rooms that sit on top of each other at the back: the drawing room, the main bedroom above it, and what has been used as a dining room or sitting room below it. They're just really pretty rooms and you can step out straight onto the gardens which lead down to the pool and the pool house and then the garden terrace on the hill, which is around half an acre and really lovely."
The Wick was originally constructed in 1775 on the site of the Bull's Head tavern on the upper reaches of Richmond Hill, which is around 10 miles from central London. The location was specifically chosen for its panoramic view, which has been protected by an Act of Parliament since 1902 (the only view in England to have the honor).
Thanks to its clever design, most of the house itself is hidden from the street, making it incredibly private, despite the fact that it's just a short walk from the bustling pubs and shops of upmarket Richmond Upon Thames.
The 2,500 acres of open space, grassland, and roaming deer of Richmond Park nature reserve — the largest royal park in London — is also no more than a two-minute stroll away.
"In the lower ground floor of the house, Ronnie Wood commissioned a music studio — in fact, Pete Townshend helped him construct it and design it, so he was involved in that way back then," adds Press. "That studio has been pretty much dismantled for the sale. The rooms are still there but the main studio, which was originally the billiard room, is now a screening room with a large TV.
"It's good for that because it lends itself to being a night-time room," he continues. "Then the other studio rooms are just up for grabs. I should imagine that someone will put in a gym or something like that in them. I think they were staff rooms way back in the mists of time."
In September 2019, The Who shared details about making their first new album in 13 years. Titled WHO it debuted on November 22 of that year and featured the lead single "Ball and Chain."